The Agreement has been signed in Gulistan Palace of Baku on September 20, 1994 which was later named as the Contract of the Century due to its tremendous importance. Production Sharing Agreement related to the development of “Azeri – Chirag – Guneshli” deepwater oil fields has been reflected on 400 pages and 4 languages. 13 companies (Amoco, BP, McDermott, Unocal, SOCAR, LukOil, Statoil, Exxon, TPAO, Pennzoil, Itochu, Ramco, Delta) from 8 countries (Azerbaijan, USA, Great-Britain, Russia, Turkey, Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia) have participated in signing of the Contract of the Century. This Contract has paved the way towards to the signature of other 26 contracts with 41 oil companies from 19 countries.
After the signature of the Contract of the Century, the parties to this document have established working structures – the Steering Committee, Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) and the Consulting Council. They have initiated its activities as they have been granted with legal competencies at the basis of the Special Decree signed by the President of Azerbaijan on December 2, 1994.
The speech made by President Heydar Aliyev at the signing ceremony of the Contract of the Century on September 20, 1994 is a meaningful historic document which enables us to use the language of political analysis and not just of the political interests. It reflects many principal key points and sound thinking laid in the core of intentions and decisions made by head of the Azerbaijani State.
Heydar Aliyev has recalled to the participants the importance of the past – the history of Baku oil industries which is known by principal achievements and useful consequences. Going point by point, his speech has consisted of solid milestones.
“The Development of oil industry … gave a strong impetus to the development of Baku and Azerbaijan as a whole”.
“The Democratic State was created … in 1918. This State has strived to use the resources which belong to the people to its wellbeing”.
Later on, “the Soviet Socialist regime has been established. … Azerbaijan lived in the conditions of that regime being as a part of the Soviet Union. The most important wealth of Azerbaijan – the Oil has been used in the interests of the Soviet Union”.
“Starting from 1920, drastic changes have occurred in the destiny of Azerbaijan. The economy of Azerbaijan has been developing and the strong industrial potential has been created in the Republic. Our oil industry has passed long historical pathway.”
I think that it is necessary to bring today this fact into the attention of our guests and recall it in front of the Azerbaijani people. It is the pride and the glory of the Azerbaijani people which says about the achievement of our people, our oil workers in world economy.”
“Azerbaijan became the Independent Republic… A new epoch has begun in the life of Azerbaijan. And the history of our oil industry has got a new foundation, that’s to say, the third stage… During the new stage, expressing the will of the Azerbaijani people, we undertake necessary measures to use its natural resources”.
“The economy of Azerbaijan is in deep crisis. Big difficulties have also emerged in oil industry. All of us must unite efforts, work hand-in-hand to implement the Contract, sort out from this crisis, develop Azerbaijani economy and to elevate the wellbeing of people to the necessary level”.
The Contract of the Century has made the history as the first comprehensive economic decision taken by Heydar Aliyev which has defined the main priority in the policy of his Presidential administration – the oil strategy. But even under those times, the significance of the Contract of the Century was not limited to the expected financial profits. Early 90-ies, Azerbaijan has started to get out gradually from the catastrophic situation at the basis of Heydar Aliyev’s project as well as the complexity of unnamed reasons which were always present in his policies and were seen by his wise supporters. In those years, the Azerbaijani State had to inherit the historical Azerbaijani statehood by assuming full responsibility not only for its own short period of existence, but also all experience of the Azerbaijani history. In this light, the Contract of the Century of the Century became the quintessence philosophy which united the consistent ideas of those times and values laid down in the heart of the Heydar Aliyev policy – to serve for the sake of people’s wellbeing.
Heydar Aliyev was traditional in his thinking. He sought himself as spearheading the classic style mission to run the democratic policy taking its roots from the antiquity – Plato and Aristotle. The purpose of such policy is to ensure the wealth for the nation and not the personal freedom to individuals.
The Contract of the Century has inevitably led to the changes of social actions scale in Azerbaijan: the nation has got a chance to leave chaos and collapse behind by influx of large financial means inside the country – the Azerbaijani nation has been given the vital mission with its concrete contents. Its importance has envisaged implementing the effective modernization with two significant conditions: to preserve the independence and use moral and spiritual forces of the people. The Contract of the Century became the driving force of such exact modernization which was seen as the outing of practical energy of any individual while the control over processes was continuously ensured by the State. In this understanding, the meaningful word of “the Contract” got a long-term operational meaning.
After several years, the implementation of the Contract of the Century gives sound grounds to think about the potential force of the Azerbaijani people. This force depends on invisible reserves of human energy, strong will and aspirations towards the greater achievements.